For over two decades Cargraphic has sup­plied its own Bri­tish-made ex­haust sys­tems and other Porsche tun­ing equip­ment. We paid a visit to their Lan­dau head­quar­ters and drove three of their cars in the beau­ti­ful Pfalz coun­try­side

911 Porsche World - - This Month - Words: Johnny Ti­pler Pho­tog­ra­phy: Antony Fraser

Drop­ping in on Ger­man tun­ing spe­cial­ist, Cargraphic

Sooner or later you’ll need to re­place your ex­haust sys­tem. Or you’ll be se­duced by the no­tion of up­grad­ing for the sake of per­for­mance in­crease, or merely mak­ing more noise. Chances are, as you surf the net for sup­pli­ers, you’ll hit on Cargraphic. Based in Lan­dau, a his­toric town in the heart of the south­west Ger­man wine-grow­ing Pfalz re­gion, the firm has been mar­ket­ing Porsche ex­hausts for over 20 years, since pa­tron Thomas Sch­narr went into part­ner­ship with Si­mon Young, who man­u­fac­tures Cargraphic’s own man­i­folds, cat­alytic con­vert­ers, si­lencers (with or with­out in­te­grated flaps), and Ac­tive Sound ex­hausts for diesel en­gines at his Cul­lomp­ton fac­tory in Devon, GB.

Cargraphic’s af­ter­mar­ket Porsche ac­ces­sories cat­a­logue also fea­tures per­for­mance com­po­nents such as its own three-piece wheels and Air­lift kit – a frontaxle lift sys­tem for cars with low­ered sus­pen­sion and limited ground clear­ance – as ap­plied to my col­league’s 996 GT3 but, alas, not my slammed 996 C2.

One of the most pos­i­tive char­ac­ters you could hope to meet, Thomas Sch­narr is con­stantly up­beat: ‘Our best busi­ness at the mo­ment is with the 981 Boxster and Cay­man engine, par­tic­u­larly the 981 GT4; we must have sold 250 man­i­fold sets al­ready, and there’s a race se­ries that we have built a spe­cial ex­haust sys­tem for which they all have to run, so this is re­ally good busi­ness.’ He tells us that the Cay­man GT4 man­i­fold also fits the reg­u­lar Cay­man, so that’s ben­e­fi­cial. ‘There are three mod­els in that bracket,’ he con­tin­ues: ‘the nor­mal Cay­man and Boxster, which run a smaller diameter 45mm man­i­fold be­cause of the engine ca­pac­ity and a com­bi­na­tion of power and torque; and then we have the GT4 and the Spy­der which have the 3.8, and they are on a 51mm pri­mary pipe size; and also we have the race header for the race track or the Club Sport cars, and that is a long, pri­mary race header which Si­mon de­vel­oped on a car.’

The ex­haust side of the busi­ness rep­re­sents around three-quar­ters of the firm’s turnover, and more re­cently the new Ac­tive Sound Sys­tem has be­come Cargraphic’s sec­ond most pop­u­lar prod­uct line. Next up comes the com­pany’s own se­ries of road wheels, avail­able in six dif­fer­ent styles – in­clud­ing Mo­tor­sport splitrims which we ob­serve be­ing as­sem­bled at Lan­dau – and, last but not least, per­for­mance up­grade com­po­nents such as throt­tle bod­ies, in­take plenums and light­weight fly­wheels.

Over in the Cul­lomp­ton fac­tory, 32 skilled crafts­men hand-build a va­ri­ety of Cargraphic ex­haust sys­tems for the en­tire Porsche range. It’s a cav­ern of al­coves, in­ner re­cesses lit by flash­ing weld­ing torches, ac­com­pa­nied by a di­verse sound­track of clank­ing pipes, fizzing welders, ma­chine tools, lathes, pol­ish­ers and pop mu­sic, dec­o­rated by girlie cal­en­dars and in­ter­sected by shelves over­flow­ing with seg­ments of ex­haust sys­tems. In ad­join­ing work­shops sheet stain­less steel is cut and curved and filled with a baf­fling va­ri­ety of sound ab­sorp­tion ma­te­ri­als prior to mat­ing up with as­so­ci­ated cats and pipework. ‘All our si­lencers are as­sem­bled in the same way, wrap­ping two or three lay­ers of stain­less steel wire-wool around the baf­fle, plus a layer of needle mat which is glass­fi­bre blan­ket around the in­side of the in­su­la­tor case, and then we fill the void with glass rob­ing, which is like glass­fi­bre in a con­tin­u­ous fil­a­ment so it doesn’t break down. This is then pushed into the si­lencer un­der pres­sure, and these ma­chines will squash the case to the right shape for the baf­fle so the in­ter­nals re­tain the shape.’

All parts are test-fit­ted, dyno-tested and TÜV ap­proved in Ger­many. ‘We have a pro­to­type sys­tem or a com­po­nent part made in Eng­land, then we get type ap­proval; we re­ceive an or­der and the fin­ished ar­ti­cle is pro­duced and despatched. Our busi­ness is di­vided 80 per cent through deal­ers and 20 per cent pri­vate orders. We are con­stantly ex­pand­ing, and we have a lot of growth po­ten­tial in new mar­kets like South Amer­ica, South Africa and In­dia, and we’re do­ing a lot in Aus­tralia and New Zealand now. China has de­clined a lit­tle bit, but In­dia and Malaysia are do­ing very well. In­dia is a very big growth mar­ket, be­cause they have loads of Cayennes and SUVS, if not sports cars.’

Cargraphic has a reg­is­ter of agents world­wide, in­clud­ing Parr Mo­tor­sport in the UK, and runs the mail-or­der op­er­a­tion from its Lan­dau premises. The despatch depart­ment where orders are boxed up is in the main build­ing with a staff of 12. The way deal­ers or­der items and com­po­nents has al­tered rad­i­cally: ‘Whereas be­fore we had deal­ers in Amer­ica who bought con­tain­ers full of stuff and kept a stock of it, this is no longer the case; they buy items as and when they need them, and that’s be­cause dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems like UPS and Fedex mean we have com­pet­i­tive freight rates, so we can send, for in­stance, a 997 Turbo sys­tem to­day to the East Coast of the USA overnight for about 150 eu­ros, and be­cause ev­ery­thing goes via Memphis, Ten­nessee it takes an­other day to reach the West Coast, but it would be there within two days for 175 eu­ros. Then the deal­ers despatch to the cus­tomers.’

Mean­while, if you hap­pen to be in the Lan­dau area, Cargraphic has a spot­less work­shop run by three tech­ni­cians, with three hoists and state-of-the-art equip­ment to carry out vir­tu­ally any task on your Porsche. By way of demon­strat­ing the Cargraphic range, Thomas has three cars for us to try, each fea­tur­ing very dif­fer­ent Cargraphic ap­pa­ra­tus. First up is a Ma­can diesel; not es­pe­cially dear to Porsche afi­ciona­dos, maybe, but nev­er­the­less an ex­tremely ca­pa­ble ve­hi­cle. A diesel, did I say? Well, when the techie fires it up I’m trans­ported to the US-OF-A, be­cause this sounds like noth­ing other than a big-block Amer­i­can V8 petrol guz­zler. The ques­tion is, not so much ‘why,’ as ‘how?’ Up on the hoist Thomas points out a pair of bul­bous speak­ers mounted just be­fore the tail pipes, which are pro­grammed to emit a petrol V8 rum­ble, which you can mod­u­late to high- or low-pitch V8 via a smart­phone app. But that’s the ex­cep­tion. As Thomas says, ‘we try to make our sys­tems fit with OE parts, whereas other makes won’t do, and in some cases you can’t just re­place the tail pipes or rear box be­cause their sys­tems won’t match with the ex­ist­ing parts. De­sign-wise, with the Cargraphic prod­ucts, we al­ways try to max­imise flow, max­imise power but still keep­ing it within a re­spectable – and le­gal – sound level. Be­cause of the con­straints with TÜV in Ger­many we can’t have a sys­tem that’s ab­so­lutely un­fet­tered, so there has to be a com­pro­mise be­tween the level of sound and the per­for­mance that can be gained, but our sys­tems do tend to be more drive­able and more user friendly as a re­sult. You don’t have that hor­ri­ble droning in the

We try to make our sys­tems fit with OE parts, where other makes don’t

back of your head over long dis­tances.’ How they gauge whether a par­tic­u­lar con­fig­u­ra­tion of si­lencer and header and tailpipes, plus cat­alytic con­verter and heat ex­chang­ers is go­ing to en­hance the car’s per­for­mance is, ac­cord­ing to Thomas, ‘very much an ex­pe­ri­ence based thing. We have a deci­bel me­ter and we mea­sure the car as stan­dard and then we can do our own work and then mea­sure the car.’ That’s done static and drive-by, rather than rolling road. In­creas­ing bhp is also down to past ex­pe­ri­ence: ‘It’s what we’ve learned over the years; we can work out pri­mary di­am­e­ters, pri­mary lengths, and cats we know al­ways give an im­prove­ment with the mod­ern 200cell, tri-coated T38 plat­inum, rhodium, pal­la­dium Cargraphic exclusive cats, and there’s an im­me­di­ate gain to be had in fit­ting those when the fac­tory parts are usu­ally 600-cell, so im­me­di­ately you’ve in­creased the flow by three times. If you’re go­ing for max­i­mum power you should con­sider those, as a lot of the fac­tory head­ers are par­tic­u­larly re­stric­tive. And there are good gains to be made in re­plac­ing the stock head­ers with our free-flow­ing head­ers.’ An­other car to ben­e­fit in this way is the 991 gen 2 Car­rera 3.0 turbo Cabri­o­let which I sam­ple out in the pic­turesque Pfalz vine­yard coun­try­side, fea­tur­ing state-of-the-art Cargraphic ex­haust and cat sec­tions – a won­der­ful car on a sunny after­noon. I’m Johnny-look-at-me with the Sport sys­tem in full boom.

Cargraphic’s piece-de-re­sis­tance though is a 1987 3.2 Car­rera, fin­ished in Blood Orange and back­dated ac­cu­rately, aes­thet­i­cally at least, to a 2.7 RS lookalike, com­plete with Car­rera graph­ics on the lower flanks. ‘I like the F-pro­gramme mod­els,’ says Thomas. ‘I wanted a rust-free Amer­i­can late G50 car for this project, and I got this one three years ago: no ac­ci­dents, no rust, and since then we’ve com­pletely done it up.’ The re­vised body­work con­sists of car­bon front wings, long-bon­net car­bon front lid, steel doors, car­bon duck­tail and car­bon rear bumper panel, the whole pack­age weigh­ing in at 1025kg. Sus­pen­sion in­cludes Bil­stein Club­sport dampers with Welt­meis­ter bushes, and re­tains the 3.2’s tor­sion-bars. It’s run­ning Miche­lin TB15 clas­sic rac­ing tyres on 15in replica Fuchs wheels. The 3.2 Car­rera-based flat-six is Cargraphic’s RSC 3.2 power kit unit, rated at 283bhp, with top speed cal­cu­lated at 267kph, and con­tain­ing Cargraphic’s own mod­i­fied 964 cams and head port­ing. It’s run­ning a big air mass flow

There are good gains to be made in re­plac­ing the stock head­ers

sen­sor and BMC air fil­ter, which forms a very neat ar­range­ment, hav­ing been in­stalled by Cargraphic’s in-house tech­ni­cians. the sparkling ex­haust sys­tem, the Cargraphic GT ex­haust with EURO2 cat­alytic con­vert­ers and in­te­grated flaps. There are three dif­fer­ent grades of in­ter­nal baf­fling for a Cargraphic 911 si­lencer, pro­duc­ing three dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions of sound, ef­fec­tively, so you could have what would be con­sid­ered an OE sound, which is iden­ti­fied as an ET, and then the TÜV box which is a lit­tle louder than stan­dard and called an ETR, and then the non-tüv ex­port ver­sion which is an ETS. The orange car’s com­pre­hen­sive pipework in­cludes the ET flap sys­tem, fit­ted with spe­cial flaps, pres­sure-less closed, with the ad­van­tage that the car al­ways starts in quiet mode, and that is con­trolled by a vac­uum that will open the flaps so the car can be driven qui­etly at low revs. Two fur­ther con­fig­u­ra­tions can be spec­i­fied for clas­sic 911s. ‘We have built this sys­tem with two ver­sions for the ear­lier cars,’ says Thomas, ‘with a mod­i­fied heat ex­changer like this sys­tem that’s fit­ted on the orange car, or with our full GT sys­tem which has the heat ex­chang­ers over the cat­alytic con­verter; that works just as well, but you have more vari­a­tions with the in­let pipe diameter so you can go big­ger than the heat ex­chang­ers, so it’s more pow­er­ful. In fact, we ac­tu­ally sell more GT sys­tems than heat ex­chang­ers.’

The orange 3.2 back­date re­flects where Thomas sees the trend go­ing in 911 own­er­ship: ‘I see the di­rec­tion as clas­sic, es­pe­cially as new cars be­come more and more tightly reg­u­lated. So I want to have a base­line for the next 20 years, and with our fa­cil­ity and our knowl­edge and what we can pro­duce, I see the di­rec­tion head­ing to­wards clas­sic cars, be­cause the next gen­er­a­tion of reg­u­la­tions will make it very difficult for us, es­pe­cially in this range. OK, there will al­ways be peo­ple who want to up­grade their per­for­mance or maybe want a per­for­mance ex­haust sound from their 996s or 997s or 991s, but for clas­sic Porsches the pos­si­bil­i­ties are lim­it­less. We have so many clas­sic parts in store on the first and sec­ond floors of our main build­ing, and this is in ad­di­tion to our range of ex­hausts and tun­ing equip­ment.’

Cargraphic’s next project cars are a 964 and an­other 3.2: ‘We are build­ing two cars at present, a 964 WTL Amer­ica Road­ster in white – it’s a fac­tory Turbo-look, one of 326 built, with all our good­ies on it, in­clud­ing air­lift and the new flap sys­tem for the 964. We are also work­ing on a 1987 G-model G50 3.2 Car­rera which will have the ’74–’75 3.0 Car­rera RS look, which will be fin­ished in Con­ti­nen­tal Orange.’ Per­son­ally, I can’t wait to get back to Lan­dau, where I’ll be sam­pling the lo­cal Dorn­felder as well as Cargraphic’s up­graded 911s, though, of course, not si­mul­ta­ne­ously. PW

The 3.2 back­date re­flects where Thomas see the trend go­ing for 911s

A mixed bag in Cargraphic’s work­shop al­though with more clas­sic than mod­ern ma­chin­ery as be­fit­ting of Cargraphic’s move into the clas­sic world as tun­ing and mod­i­fy­ing the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion be­comes more re­stric­tive. There will al­ways be room for ex­hausts,

Cargraphic chief, Thomas Sch­narr, has been at the fore­front of Porsche tun­ing for over 20-years. Right: 2.7 RS replica is based on a Car­rera 3.2 and is a won­der­ful drive

A full trophy cabi­net is al­ways a re­as­sur­ing sign be­cause win­ning any­thing al­ways in­volves be­ing at the top of your game. Mid­dle: Cargraphic sys­tems shout qual­ity. Right: Cargraphic fit and rec­om­mend Bil­stein

Seems a shame to hide such qual­ity work­man­ship away. Porsche ex­haust sys­tems are com­pli­cated things and qual­ity af­ter­mar­ket sys­tems have to be of ex­cep­tional qual­ity

Cargraphic ex­hausts are mar­keted and sold from the com­pany’s Ger­man base, but made in the UK – Devon, to be pre­cise


Car­grapic diesel Ma­can makes a V8 bur­ble, thanks to ex­haust and hid­den speaker trick­ery, which can be con­trolled via a phone app! What will they think of next? 991 Cabrio is fully fit­ted with Cargraphic ex­haust and wheels Many thanks to Euro­tun­nel for the swift tran­sit to Le Con­ti­nent aboard Le Shut­tle euro­tun­nel.com Cargraphic Thomas Sch­narr Gmbh Wies­lauter­straße 20, D-76829 Lan­dau, Ger­many +49 / 63 41 / 968 911-0 info@cargraphic. com cargraphic.com /

It’s not just ex­hausts. Cargraphic also pro­duce wheels, with split-rims of vary­ing sizes and widths a spe­cial­ity

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